EAB’s Brittany Motley and Meacie Fairfax share what they’ve learned from working with the ten schools (so far) that have signed on to EAB’s Moon Shot for Equity and dedicated themselves to eliminating equity gaps by the end of this decade.
We also hear from front-line staff at those institutions about how they’re integrating Moon Shot initiatives into their workflow, about challenges and unexpected blessings they have encountered along the way, and about how they are engaging other campus leaders to join the effort.
0:00:12.1 Speaker 1: Hello, and welcome to Office Hours with EAB. Just over one year ago, EAB launched the Moon Shot for Equity, a project designed to vastly improve graduation rates for underserved student segments at participating institutions, by the end of this decade. We've heard from the presidents and chancellors at those schools, that's 10 schools at present, spread across three regions of the United States, if you're keeping score. And they have all shared their genuine enthusiasm for the project, as well as their commitment to see the project through. Today, we hear from front line staff at a few of those institutions and at EAB, the folks who are doing the day to day work of executing this bold initiative. We wanted to get a sense of what motivates them, what frustrates them, and how the work is going. We think you'll be interested to hear what they have to say, so enjoy.
0:01:12.1 Meacie Fairfax: Hello, and welcome to Office Hours with EAB. My name is Meacie Fairfax, and I'm joined by Brittany Motley. Hello Brittany.
0:01:20.8 Brittany Motley: Hello Meacie. It's good to be with you all today.
0:01:23.4 MF: Excited to be with you, and to have you here. So here today, we're here to talk about, or if you've been with us before and you're a regular Office Hours listener, we're gonna take another take or view about the ambitious and major undertaking that EAB launched in October of 2020, to get schools within regions to work together. Yes, we're talking about two year and four-year schools, and we know that's not a simple feat. And what are we trying to accomplish? We're trying to strengthen transfer pathways, eliminate administrative hurdles, and do all of the big and little things with attention and direction, to help students of color and other traditionally underserved student segments, so we're talking about adult learners, transfer students, student parents, veteran students, foster youths, graduate at much higher rates. So currently, state of affairs here, we have 10 schools across these regions. Wisconsin was the first cohort, and they're entering their second year of the project, but just a couple of months ago, we added two new regions, one in greater Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky, and another in Southeastern Pennsylvania.
0:02:27.6 MF: I gotta give a big up to Pennsylvania, I hail from the city of Harrisburg, so anything that's even close to it, I get excited. But back to why you're here today. We want to give you a glimpse into how the front-line staff at these institutions and from the Moon Shot team here at EAB, of which Brittany is a major component, and I'm a part, are working together to find out how things are going. Now, we picked a handful of representatives, and these are voices that you will hear throughout this episode from several of the schools, to record their thoughts on a couple of key areas that we think will resonate with you, our listeners. And then naturally along the way, we wanna share a bit of context and reflections of our own, doing this meaningful but challenging work, in the backdrop of this pandemic, because the reality is, it has been real. So to start off, I would love to ask you, Brittany, we have three regions, they're at different parts and points of their work. How are things going?
0:03:27.0 BM: Thank you so much, Meacie. So with the Milwaukee region, they have been doing this work the longest now, as you said, this is our first regional consortium, and they have completed their hold audit and developed new retention grant processes, and new coordinated care processes. So we're now going into the next stage of aligning their academic pathways across institutions, and looking more into that equity-mindedness, and student belonging and support. With the Greater Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and Southeastern Pennsylvania regions, they are finalizing their first set practices. And an interesting observation is, mostly all ecosystems have chosen hold reform, retention grants, and transfer pathways, as their first three practices. Now they have others included in there, but I've seen so far that these three regions have all landed there, and I think that's a really powerful place to start. A hold reform is just a quick way to just audit what is happening on campus, what are those inequities, what are those processes that are affecting students based on their social identity, and how can we remove these, or put different coordination and different processes around them. So that's where everyone is right now.
0:04:38.5 MF: Well, that's fantastic to hear because, I'm sure one of the things where they landed to, was to make sure that they get some quick wins for the students, which sounds like a lot of that is taking place on our campuses. But one thing I know a lot of folks, even internally and externally, campus leaders, have been curious about what has surprised us so far, right, if anything? What are those things that are kind of popping up, or we're just happy to see?
0:05:04.6 BM: I would say the most surprising thing about this work has been the power of an ecosystem, it's really having these institutions work together. And, so for example, with the Milwaukee region, we have a private institution, we have a two-year institution, we have a regional public institution, and then we have a large four year institution, so we have all of these different types, but the beauty of the collaboration, where, I know we shouldn't be surprised by collaboration, but it's so beautiful, just watching institutions glean from each other and see... To play on each other's strengths. I would say another surprising impact of Moon Shot is the peer pressure that you get from these ecosystems, it's something about putting data up on slides with institutions next to each other, that makes them just kinda wanna jump on board and say, Oh, maybe we should implement that too, or maybe we should try that thing. So I would say the most profound impact of Moon Shot, and surprising, has been the ecosystem structure.
0:06:07.7 MF: Yeah, and I love a couple of the things that you pulled out there, which is the power of the collaboration. I think a lot of folks, as we moved into this virtual online, weren't quite sure how we would be able to collaborate with our peers in such a way. And then I think one of the things that you had mentioned to me, even when we were talking, we continue to talk about this work, is about the space to be reflective. Is there anything... Right? You've had some great nuggets there before, so I just... I wanna bring that up and just have you share with folks a little bit more about that.
0:06:39.9 BM: You're so right, Meacie. With these practitioners, they're required to react a lot nowadays, especially with front line workers. They have to be extremely reactive and they rarely have a place to reflect. To just reflect about their practice, their work, and to do it with others who are on the ground with them. And so what happens is for Moon Shot, we hold these cross-institutional monthly meetings where we ask the team leaders to get together and just to share out. What are your happies? What are your crappies? What's going really well? What do you need support on? Or what do you need to hear about? And it's such a beautiful space for leaders and you find, you see that they're so grateful for the space to again, talk about their practices, talk about what is working, what isn't working, to even get a little bit. But just to build that community of reflective practitioners, it's just been a really beautiful thing.
0:07:29.3 MF: Yeah, and that sounds amazing. And thinking about that, thinking about having the spaces and whatnot. I wanted to talk a little bit at a high level about how you manage different leadership cultures and unique challenges. Because we know individually doing this work and then doing it as an institution, and then doing it as a region. What are some of the things that they've been trying to work through? That you've working through with them to get them to a place where it works quite honestly.
0:08:05.1 BM: Yes, yes Meacie. We have to call out higher ed culture. But not to just pick on higher ed, culture is culture. I know you all may have seen the book that says culture eats strategy for breakfast. By its very nature, the essence of culture is to establish norms. Norms of identity, behavior, and languages. So culture goes against change and transformation because culture wants you to be this norm. It wants you to operate as this one thing. So that is the first thing that we'll see when we get into these Moon Shot ecosystems. Is that we really have to understand culture and think about how to recreate a new culture, how to reinforce a new culture. And so one thing we know about higher ed culture is that it's very siloed. We typically... The only person who knows about the financial aid packaging process is the Financial Aid Director. The only person who knows about this is the academic side. The only person who knows about co-curricular activities is the student affairs side.
0:09:07.6 BM: And we want to be able to more holistically understand the students from all of these viewpoints on campus. We want to reinforce the student life cycle mindset. Let's not enroll the student, if we can't retain the student. Let's not retain the student, if we can't graduate the student. Let's not graduate the student, if we can't guarantee those post-grad outcomes. Otherwise, we are perpetuating that cycle of harm and poverty that we're looking to resolve with the ratio of equity gap. And so with this, we really want leaders to think about when you enroll that student for this one term, do they have the finances to enroll that subsequent term? When you do this one thing, what is the ripple effect of that on the student? How can we give stakeholders a transparent view into the student's life cycle so everyone is mindful of the impact. When students are interacting on campus. So that is the way that we want to think about culture, is what new process can we embed that can reinforce a new behavior, that can again, reinforce that new campus culture.
0:10:10.2 MF: Alright, well, so without further ado, let's kind of jump in and hear from the voices. The folks who are on the ground at the Moon Shot schools, and hear a little bit about what they've had to say. Now we've asked them a couple of questions and we want to share a couple of those clips with you. And I think we should start with someone from the first school to commit to the project. And that's Phyllis King, Vice Provost, at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Now, we asked Phyllis, how is she integrating the Moon Shot into existing workflows at UWM. And here's what she had to say.
0:10:44.9 Phyllis King: So some of this work doesn't necessarily require additional time or resources. But what it has done is it's redirected some of our current actions to yield better results. Establishing metrics and analyzing our data has really helped us to make data-driven decisions to affect change. I don't believe we've been using our data as much as we could have, or should have, but we certainly are now. So for the most part, we've integrated the Moon Shot for Equity into our existing workflow. On the other hand, admittedly, I will say we do, however, have dedicated leadership through our program owners to drive this initiative and coordinate all aspects and oversee that cycle of continuous improvement.
0:11:29.2 MF: Now, something that I want to note that Phyllis said, is that we often hear that, this is additional work. Yet this is more appropriately, we can talk about it more about a redirection of the work, and I would even say as a circle back to the institution's mission. It's overdo. It's required and it's necessary. One of the things I was thinking about Brittney, as I was listened to her clip, is that there's a concept of de-implementing. And that can and should take place at the same time. And I know that's part of the work that you do, and that means abandoning that low value and those harmful practices. As part of that work and part of the assessments that you do at the beginning of what worked and hasn't worked. What are some of the things that came to your mind when Phyllis shared what she just did?
0:12:14.3 BM: Thank you, Meacie. It's a really good point about integrating with existing workflows. You have to be mindful, I think here, and that people are attached to these initiatives on their campus that they typically develop them. And this is actually a term and it's called the Ikea effect. And it's when you place greater value on something that you developed, or you worked on, or you put together. So when we're looking to sunset initiative, this can be taken personally by stakeholders on campus. So what we typically will try to do is we will say, How can we enhance the work that you're doing? How can we bring this to the next state of evolution? We have these, the processes, we have these resources, the support, so that's how we typically try to come in and make it like we're not trying to disrupt or throw away the hard work that you all have been doing. All of our existing ecosystems have made a lot of great strides and have done a lot of foundational work, we never want to discredit that, but we want to enhance and help accelerate the forward movement of this work, and so that's what we're really looking to come in to do.
0:13:22.0 MF: Yeah. And quite honestly, a lot of what usually happens when folks are thinking about how did this come into play, how do we put this into our workflow, the next question you typically get is something about dealing with initiative fatigue, and we know the workflow is important, time, resources, emotional energy are a constant, they don't change. So how do we make sure that is sustainable and we aren't left to the all too common initiative fatigue? Now, there's a reason why we ask this question, and it's quite honestly because it's just so common, folks talk about the piling of... You ask leadership, what are we focused on? They'll say, it's these three things. You go to practitioners and ask them what they're working on, they might create a laundry list of 20 to 30 initiatives that are underneath them, but yet don't have the visibility or maybe even the understanding or the direction from the leadership in terms of what that's gonna look like going forward and how they're gonna be able to accomplish this. So all that to say, and a lot of these responses are what we expected, and at this point, we wanna go back to Phyllis King, at UWM to hear what she had to say about initiative fatigue.
0:14:35.5 PK: We're dealing with the initiative fatigue by prioritizing our efforts, we're focusing on what is most important, what will make the most impact on student success and our institutional effectiveness, we're integrating this work as much as possible into our existing structures or committees instead of creating new structures and more meetings and increasing the complexity of communication channels, and we're asking ourselves, Oh, who or what Committee that currently exists, and where could we... Where the aims of this initiative really fit the best, or who could champion or integrate these strategies that we identified have been identified by these initiatives.
0:15:17.9 MF: Now, Phyllis said a lot there Brittany. I was just wondering, what were some of the things that you keyed on or picked up on from what she said?
0:15:25.3 BM: So in working with this team, I really attached to actually what the President of UWM said as well, that undergirds what Phyllis said really nicely. Mark Mone said, "we are not trying to do things fast, we are trying to do things right." And I really love the intentionality of the team and the ecosystem because we're not trying to just check back all of the 15 things from the MOU, but let's focus on one thing really well, let's activate one team and let's really, really have this impact the entire campus, and then that's how we can get others on board, so I just... I love the call out of a way to come at initiative fatigue is to not do so many things, just kind of focus on one thing, prioritize it and do that really well.
0:16:13.6 MF: Absolutely, and I love what you said about accountability of those mechanisms and prioritizing. Now, the next voice you're gonna hear is Ande Durojaiye, he's a dean at Miami University of Ohio, and one of the newer Moon Shot regions, that joined us just a few months ago.
0:16:31.1 Ande Durojaiye: Initiative fatigue is real. It's real on our campus. It's real everywhere. You know when you think about initiative fatigue, I think for us, we're looking at how the work we're doing aligns with the work of the Moon Shot, and so for instance, when you think about the 15 best practices, when you think about student success, this is work that's been going on in our campus for quite some time, and so really it's not necessarily looking at a new initiative, it's looking at it more from a sense of we're doubling down or scaling up our efforts in areas that we're committed to. So when you think about coordinated care, that's an area that we've been focused on for quite some time, it's also one of the best practices, all we're doing is looking at our coordinated care efforts and trying to find out ways that we can do it better. The same thing when we think about equity mindedness from a leadership standpoint, all of our leaders we would hope would be equity-minded, but now it's our opportunity to really think about it and really go in to test ourself, to push ourselves to really move towards that common goal. So when we think about initiative fatigue, for us, it's not looking at it as a new initiative, but more so a re-invigoration of the great work that we're doing and the work that's gonna have a lasting impact.
0:17:35.0 MF: Now, I wanna double down on a list that Ande said, Here's the best practices for teams and doing this work means... And I've said it in different ways, but I think we're all on the same page here about prioritizing, so doubling down or scaling up depending on what you may need to do. Secondly, integrating that work into your work, finding alignment across what you're doing across the institution already. Thirdly, I would pick up on what they said about communicating frequently. And then fourth, which we cannot dismiss the power of and how much more it's needed for this type of work is empowering colleagues across the campus to lead this work versus standing on the sidelines and wondering what their role is, because this is a full-on campus effort. And what I liked about what Ande said as well, was talking about that re-invigoration of the work, 'cause we're beginning a lot of these initiatives again and doing them with a different lens, a lens that many folks and many practitioners don't have. What would you have in terms of what Ande and Phyllis had said?
0:18:37.0 BM: I think those points were really good, Meacie. One thing I would say is, you're right, this work is not your typical... We're not saying do a hold audit, we're saying to a hold audit with an equity lens. That means disaggregate your data. Why are students with a certain social identity receiving all of these financial aid holds? What is the impact of that? When we put a student on academic probation, when they're already minorities, when they're already thriving in a community that is dealing with racialized policing, should we use the same words and policing that are used in academia? What are the impacts of this? What is the language around our whole reform? Is this reinforcing that students don't have the social identity to belong here, or are we using positive psychology saying, hey, we have resources for you, we understand this, come into our office. So it's different when you do these best practices with an equity-minded lens instead of just doing them in the traditional ways that we've seen them done, so I love your call out of that.
0:19:42.2 MF: Yeah, and you bring up a really good point because I think the other part, if you're talking about the work that we're doing on behalf of students. But we also have to realize that these practitioners, the staff and others are also feeling and coming against some unequitable practices, some unequitable work experiences, and they're doing all of this in the midst of trying to make it better for the students, but trying to make it better for themselves as well. And so I wanna kinda finally turn to and hear from Bonita Brown. She's our Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer at Northern Kentucky University, and this is another school that's part of that newly formed Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky Moon Shot region.
0:20:28.3 Bonita Brown: First, acknowledging is a real thing. It absolutely is a real thing. Universities have had to take that pivot to online, managing COVID, navigating the students needs, it is absolutely a real thing. But again, I think if you do a good job of showing people how all the work is coordinated, the same pivot we did to online is the same way we're probably gonna need to continue doing in the future. It's all connected, it's not new things. And I also think you're showing them outcomes. Here's what we're trying to reach, and then celebrate. We've hit several milestones at NKU.
0:21:00.2 BB: We've been able to support our students in the digital divide during COVID, let's celebrate that, let's talk about that. We were able to change classes and how they were offered to students to meet their schedules, celebrate it. This is what we mean by equity work. This is what we mean by the student success work is not another big shiny initiative, it's doing more of the same, but doing it better and more intentional, and then assessing the data to make sure it's having the impact that we want it to have. So initiative fatigue is real, we're all tired, but we also celebrate and rejoice in those outcomes that we're working to strive for.
0:21:35.4 MF: And so I think it's really interesting this idea. Folks have doubled down in these comments to say... These clips to say, initiative fatigue is real. Because I think at certain stages or depending on who is saying or talking about this initiative fatigue, it may not come across as being something that's being really largely felt. But one of the things I really liked about what Bonita said in that clip was talking about, let's show... And she kind of did this... All these three C's, right? We're coordinated, we're communicating, we have consistency and we're celebrating.
0:22:07.7 MF: We're all tired, but we know how meaningful this work can be. And I think that's really one of the components that we haven't quite talked about yet here, is that celebration of those moments about where we have come, knowing that we do have an eye on that larger prize to eliminate and to close the equity gaps. But what does that mean in terms of... Even in your first year with these campuses, celebrating or talking about these wins. What does... Does that help with initiative fatigue? Is that a component of it? How would you kind of describe and discuss that?
0:22:43.3 BM: A really good point, Meacie, because what we're finding with initiative fatigue is that part of it is that folks felt like they're running on a hamster wheel, but they're not seeing the award. They're not seeing the reward for their work. They're not seeing that the metrics and the evaluation of the things that they're working. So we know that many institutions have taken on initiatives for ages now around time to degree, student retention, student success, and all of those things, but because we don't have the appropriate communication and accountability, we're not seeing the impact of our work. And so one thing we are really intentional about, intentional about with Moon shot is communicating through newsletters, through reporting, by monthly reporting, quarterly reporting, to make sure that they understand what's happening there.
0:23:34.6 MF: That's fantastic. So the one thing I wanna say is, I hope as listeners are hearing this, is validating for their perspectives or what may be happening on their campuses or maybe giving them ideas in terms of work they wanna do. Because what we do know is that this is work, it's meaningful and deep work, but it will pay off in numerous ways. So we're talking about student success, enrollment success and institutional success. And then just a better society. So another question that we asked, we're kind of probing minds here, was, What advice would you share with other university leaders about taking on equity work? And so we're gonna hear again from Bonita Brown at NKU.
0:24:13.4 BB: The first thing I would say particularly being on the ground on a campus, is finding a definition of equity. Everyone has different perspectives and thoughts on what they think equity is, and so we're trying to work as a campus to define what we mean as NKU, what equity means. And again, we have to get it beyond race, it's where a lot of people stop. And so you gotta get people to see that it's a broader perspective than simply race. It's age, it's gender, it's rural, it's urban, it's a lot of things in that equity definition. And then you have to show them with data points to show them where there really is a problem.
0:24:45.3 BB: Again, we talk about social generalities, people don't feel or see the impact, but if you get that data and show them, this is how this is impacting our rural students, they get it. They start understanding what we're trying to get to. And then show them examples of the work that we're already doing. A lot of people across campus are doing a lot of this work, but the other people on the other side of campus may not know it, and so just sharing that work, sharing those ideas. This is what we mean by equity, this is what we mean by equity work. And then once you do that, you can kinda see the stars aligning, people understand it and they wanna work and move forward.
0:25:18.2 BB: And again, when you're talking about resources to do equity work, again people wanna see it as a separate body of work, and it is not. You have the resources, you have the tools already, it's really just about retooling and reframing what you're doing and what you have, to support the various needs of the students wherever they are. So it's really about taking what you have, meeting the students where they are, to better support them.
0:25:38.8 MF: Alright, Brittany, she said a lot. Thoughts?
0:25:44.4 BM: Yes. I agree, 100%. And I would say, if I could give advice to leaders, I would say bringing Moon Shot on your campus is an opportunity to have... To activate and empower your staff in ways that you could never imagine. This is a way to really, really get your campus on board. Meacie, you talked about it a little earlier, but empowering staff to lead in place is the most powerful thing you can do. We're finding that stakeholders, they don't need change management. Our leaders in higher ed, they do not need to be managed. These are experts, these are practitioners in their field, they just need a way to be empowered so they can influence student success in a more holistic way. They find that these frontline workers are fighting with campus bureaucracy, they're fighting with processes that don't help.
0:26:37.9 BM: The minute I hold focus groups with staff and faculty, they have the solution, they have the processes, their voice was just never elevated or they were never given a seat at the table, but the folks who are on the ground interacting with these students have the most insight. And so I would say Moon Shot for equity is just a beautiful opportunity to kind of flatten those power dynamics that are oppressing the voices of different stakeholders throughout the institution.
0:27:06.1 MF: And I don't think there's another way to say that, that was beautifully said, because, like you said, it's about championing those voices of the folks who have those answers or the expertise on campus, absolutely. So, without further ado, we're gonna dive in and hear what Ande at Miami University had to say.
0:27:27.4 AD: I think when I... When I think about equity in the work there are three things that come to mind. First, it's gotta come from the top, we've gotta make sure that our institutional leaders at all levels recognize the value of equity in the work that we do. They make equity a priority, it's not optional. And they're the drivers of how we think of equity. Secondly, I would say that you have to make sure we're connecting with all aspects of our campus to make sure everyone understands equity. It can't be something that's purely, your senior leadership, it can't be just your faculty, it's gotta be your staff, and so it's gotta be in all aspects of the university, everybody that's doing all the great work that makes us move forward in our student success mission have to be tied into that.
0:28:07.0 AD: And thirdly, I think we've gotta make sure that we recognize equity is core to the higher education mission. If you're truly a believer of the transformative power of higher education, then equity has to be part of that thought process, and so, knowing that it's core to what we do and it should influence all of our decisions is gonna be key for any sort of equity work you engage in.
0:28:24.6 MF: Now, one of the things I would say about what Ande just said, and it goes back to talking about leadership. We've said this and said this many times, Brittany, in our conversations about how equity is trendy, equity and diversity are on the agenda of everyone, it's on folks lips constantly. But we don't quite know or see course leaders taken it as seriously as they need to. And what I like about what Ande just put laid out is that this has to come from the top, right? This is what we are going to do, because the reality is, if we don't have, if folks don't have that work from the top, it's gonna be problematic.
0:29:08.4 MF: This goes back to what you just said about connecting with everyone across campus and making sure that they have the ownership, they have the... That the power dynamics, that those are flattened, that folks get to talk and that equity is at... The third part, I would say is that when you were talking about equity is core to the higher ed mission, right? That's our North Star, if we needed one, is that's where we are supposed to be, and so any work that supports that is where we should intersect, retool, reprioritize and redistribute to work to make sure that it gets done, this time around.
0:29:45.9 MF: And I'm sure folks on the line too can realize that they have given us some key insights about doing this equity work on the ground. And so one of the things I wanted to talk about and circle back around to is about, what's the response? Because there usually is a ground swell, we know from our students that they're more than happy and want us to take on these issues, faculty and staff and others, but sometimes the campus response can be indifferent, or it can be a resounding yes. And so we just want to share what Ande had said about how his campus responded to the launch of the Moon Shot. Let's give him a listen.
0:30:27.1 AD: I think our initial feedback from the campus was positive, when we go out and we talk about what the Moon Shot is and the overall thinking of the Moon Shot, I don't know anyone who wouldn't buy into the idea of erasing equity gaps in higher education, and I think our campus has been committed to that work for quite some time. The part that was really exciting was the fact that we were starting to think about this from a regional lens, as opposed to just on our individual campuses, but how do we have an impact that impacts our broader region. And so, the feedback has been very, very positive.
0:30:56.4 AD: As you mentioned in the last conversation, last question, regarding equity fatigue, you're always gonna get questions about, "Is this more work?" But I think the core mission, the core idea, the core values of the Moon Shot resonate with us in our campuses, so no one has any question about that. We're just trying to figure out how we can do what we're doing better.
0:31:12.8 MF: So as you heard from Ande there was excitement all around, the core values resonated and with an all out effort, and that's where you wanna be or where you wanna get to when you're thinking about doing this work. Whether you have to do some work on the ground, the leg work before you come on to initiative sessions at Moon Shot or we're part of this champions and cheerleaders for you as well. So for all of our listeners on the line, I hope you will continue to follow our work through the Moon Shot, because today you got to hear from us a little bit, and three individuals out of the 600+, I think at this point, we probably have thousands who will continue to give their time and energy to this effort.
0:31:48.8 MF: So we look forward to continuing to share their insights, their learning and elevating their voices to ensure that this equity happens this time around. Well, I've enjoyed and I love working with you on this project, Brittany, this has been and continues to be amazing work, and we're learning so much not only about ourselves and about the individuals that we're working with, but about these colleges in these regions as well.
0:32:11.7 MF: And so to close, I do wanna thank all of the fantastic people that we haven't mentioned and the 10 of the Moon Shot schools for their hard work and their dedication, that they continue on this journey of closing equity gaps. Now, we know if this was easy work, we wouldn't still have equity gaps today, so we thank you for everything that you do and continue to do, not only within this project, but day-by-day for our students. Now, Brittany, if you don't mind, I would like to get the last word on this episode of The Office Hours to our friend Ande, because he really has had some fantastic nuggets of information to share with us, and I think our listeners will appreciate it.
0:32:50.7 BM: Please, thank you.
0:32:52.6 MF: Alright, so thanks, Brittany. So once again, I just wanna thank everyone for listening to the podcast, I'm gonna let Ande close us out and share his thoughts in the impact of the Moon Shot for Equity and about the power of education to bring people together.
0:33:06.7 AD: I think for us, I think we're just excited about it, we're excited about the impact. We know that we have rich diversity within our region, whether that be racial, social, economic, first-generation status, and so we see the Moon Shot is really helping us move that forward for the entire region, so we're excited about it. We've gotten buy-in from a lot of our community partners, our K-12 partners have come out, and so they're really excited about how they can be involved, and there are non-profit partners, and so it's exciting to see the ground swell of energy at a regional community level support this initiative.
0:33:37.6 AD: I think the other thing we have to think about from a race standpoint and where we are as a country, we have a lot of racial divide, the actions that have occurred over the last few years, I think have done more to divide the country than unify the country, and so this is an opportunity for us to really take a step back and say, "What are the things that we can think that we can help unify where we are? What are the commonalities?" And I think education is one of those things. For far too long, if we're being honest, African Americans have not had the same access to quality higher education, as some of our other demographic groups, and so I think that right now people, especially in higher education are recognizing they're trying to think, "How can we come together to fix that, how can we come together to grab those opportunities?"
0:34:16.5 AD: And so I think no one, at least on my campus and I think the other campuses, are shy away from the race question at this point. And so that's exciting for me, it's actually kind of energizing because we can have real conversations, we can actually really engage, we don't have to dance around it, we can really talk about what is the issue, what's the problem, and how do we think strategically about solving the problem.
0:34:42.0 S1: Thank you for listening. Office Hours is taking a holiday break, so we won't have a fresh new episode for you until the New Year. From all of us on the podcast team, I hope your holidays are safe and happy, and we hope you will continue to listen to Office Hours with EAB in 2022. Until then, thank you for your time.
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